We all know that exercising right after a meal is a huge no-no. At the same time, food is essential when it comes to giving you the energy to power through that workout. So, how do you balance the two?
Waiting for Energy
Most people wait to workout because they’re afraid they’ll throw up in the middle of a run. We’re basically waiting for digestion to happen. There’s another reason you should be delaying your meal: Food needs time to be converted into sugar for your body!
The emptying of the stomach is a process takes about two to six hours to happen. In most cases, your meal would leave the tummy in two to three hours. The more protein and carbohydrates you put in, the longer you’ll take.
This means the length of time you wait before you start your fitness regime depends on what you eat. Similarly, the possibility of increasing the length and intensity of a workout also depends on what and when you eat before the workout.
For starters, we recommend a workout around one to two hours after a meal. Mostly because most people have no time to sit around and wait for food to turn into energy. This timeframe also gives your body a stable blood sugar level.
Due to that time frame, it is important to have good pre-workout meals that are higher in carbohydrates and fibre. You should also remember to drink more water during that meal. Here’s what we recommend for this type of pre-workout meal:
- Wholegrain Bread – Good if you can grab a sandwich made with wholegrain bread, best if you have some form of flaked tuna in that sandwich for protein
- Fruit and Yoghurt – This is a classic pre-workout meal for easily digestible carbohydrates and protein. Add more fruit than you usually would!
- Half-boiled eggs – Goes well with aforementioned wholegrain bread.
- Salad – Make sure you add some protein (Fish or chicken) and go easy on the sauces.
Eat any of these one to two hours prior to your workout, and watch yourself go longer, harder and faster than you usually do.
But if you don’t have time…
We understand some people who don’t have the time to stop work just to eat a wholegrain sandwich. Sometimes, you might be so busy that you forget. This happens even to the best of us. The fact that you haven’t had the chance to eat before a workout shouldn’t deter you from trying to get some kind of nutrition in. Don’t train hungry! Instead, get a banana smoothie to pad your tummy. Another tip: if you’re lifting weights on that day, get a shot of espresso (or any type of coffee) to go with your smoothie. You’ll see a small increase in both the weight you can lift and the repetitions you can do.